We are all at risk of suffering an electric shock from one time or another whether that is in the workplace or at home. If an electric shock is suffered at work because an employer has failed to maintain a safe working environment then an electric shock injury compensation claim can be made against them for any injuries suffered.
A survey conducted by the Electrical Safety Council (ECS) shows around 2.5 million individuals in the UK aged between 18 and 65 years old will sustain an electric shock from a mains voltage each year. Around 350,000 of these will be serious injuries.
A standard plug socket in the UK has around 230 volts but as little as 50 volts can cause a serious electric shock injury. Certain conditions such as cardiac arrhythmia also known as cardiac dysrhythmia is a condition where the heart beats either too slow or too fast and can be brought on by an electric shock of as little as 50 volts.
Symptoms can also include electrical burns, muscle seizures, and even electrocution (death).
At some point in our lives it is inevitable we will receive an electric shock. In the majority of cases we are only likely to suffer an uncomfortable jolt typical of a ‘static shock’ produced by the friction of two materials rubbing together. Typically when we take a jumper off or get in or out of a vehicle.
Can I claim electric shock injury compensation?
The vast majority of electric shocks cause little or no injury apart from a fright and a brief moment of discomfort. The same however cannot be said for everyone.
As we have previously said approximately 350,000 people per year suffer electric shocks that result in serious personal injury. Many of these accidents are through no fault of their own and would be entitled to bring a claim for compensation against the negligent person or persons
As an example, if you work in a shop or office and you decide to make a cup of tea or coffee using the premises kitchen and in doing so you receive an electric shock after lifting the kettle your employer would be responsible for any injuries you suffer not the manufacturer of the kettle, or the landlord of the building if the office or shop is rented.
Your employer would be responsible by law for your injury regardless of if the kettle was faulty or the wiring on the mains supply was faulty. It may well be the case that your employer raises the issue with the landlord or manufacturer of the kettle but your claim for compensation would be against your employer who should have by law, employer’s liability insurance to cover any injury compensation claims made against them.
Another example of negligence where you would be entitled to claim compensation for an electric shock would be if you hired an electrician to fit a mirror light in a bathroom. After several weeks of having the light installed you touch the casing with wet hands and receive an electric shock which in turn injures your hand.
It could be argued that touching the lights casing with wet hands is inherently dangerous but any light fitting in a bathroom should be done so with the foresight that there will be moisture and a light fitting in a bathroom should not be connected to the mains. In this instance an electric shock injury compensation claim can be made against the electrician.
Who is responsible?
Any employer by law is responsible for the safety of their employees by providing them with satisfactory training, the correct personal protective equipment (PPE) and a safe working environment.
Furthermore all employers in the UK are required by law to have employer’s liability insurance in place to cover any injury at work claims.
The same is also true of those providing you with a service or for those whose premises are accessible to the public. If you can prove beyond reasonable doubt that the injuries you suffered were the result of someone else’s negligence, action or inaction, then potentially you’re able to claim compensation from that person or group.
And for those of you who are worried about putting a person or group out of business, you need not worry as the compensation will invariably be provided by their insurance company.
Types of electric shock injury
The effects of an electric shock injury can vary greatly due to the number of way a shock can be suffered and whether or not an individual has a pre-existing medical condition, their age and also the voltage which has a major effect on the injury that is caused. The main electric shock injuries are:
Electrical burn injury
Electrical burn injuries can occur to body tissue as the electricity passes through it. This can leave tissue damage and scarring.
Dependant on the severity and duration of the currents flow an electrical burn can disable a person for life and require corrective surgery. For instance an arm may become paralysed as the muscles and tissue may be burnt beyond repair.
Thermal burn injuries
Thermal burns can be suffered when devices such as batteries are not maintained correctly, overloaded or not used properly as instructed by the manufacturer or health and safety policies.
Faulty electrical equipment can generate excessive heat causing thermal burns when touched.
Loss of muscle use
We are all familiar with the images in film scenes of somebody sustaining an electric shock and unable to let go and thinking why don’t they just let go to stop getting electrocuted?
The reason for this is that in some instances, say where someone has grabbed an electric fence or pole, due to the electric that immediately passes through the body it results in the muscles going into spasm and constricting. This in turn causes the person to hold the electrified object even more tightly and in effect using their own strength against them.
An electric shock may also be the cause of a secondary injury when the force of the shock causes them to be thrown into machinery, walls or to the floor causing further personal injury. Furthermore it may cause a fire in a building resulting in burn and smoke inhalation.
An electric shock in itself is enough to cause serious injury to a person. As we have previously said as little as 50 volts can potentially be fatal especially if the individual has a heart condition.
Electric shocks can cause muscle seizures, brain damage and stop a person breathing.
The voltage of the shock plays a major part in the severity of the injury and together with other variables such as dampness which can cause a mild shock to become a serious injury.
How to make an electric shock injury compensation claim
There are many different accident circumstances a person can become injured as a result of an electric shock.
If the circumstances surrounding the accident were not your fault and you feel your injury was caused by someone else’s negligence or carelessness then you may be entitled to make a claim for compensation for your injuries.
Injury Claims Assistance has expert solicitors on hand to provide free, no obligation advice for anyone who has suffered an injury because of some else’s negligence.
Please contact us today to find out if you can make a claim for compensation.